[OT] Voting systems [was Wrong ad on www.linux.org]

Robert Brockway robert-5LEc/6Zm6xCUd8a0hrldnti2O/JbrIOy at public.gmane.org
Sat Jul 3 23:30:17 UTC 2004

On Sat, 3 Jul 2004, Colin McGregor wrote:

> I must admit that the first past the post system in Canada suits me just
> fine, as it:
> - allows for regional differences

I think there may be some confusion here.  A first past the post system
has to do with how candidate selection within a single riding is handled.

It is entirely different to the concept of proportional representation
which is to do with how many candidates may be elected in a single riding
(and how ridings are arranged).  It is permissible to mix and match a
first past the post or preferential voting system with different systems
of representation.

For example, the Australian House of Representatives is elected using the
system of prefertial voting (first past the post was eliminted a while
back) but the elected officals still hold the same responsibility to their
electorate (aka riding) as members of the House of Commons do here.

All of the items below seem to be arguments against proportional
representation rather than preferential voting.

> - prevents the constant weird minor party colalitions that seem a constant
> pain for places like Israel.

This is certainly a well known problem of proportional representation.

I am a fan of the way the Australian parliament does it - one house uses
small geographic electorates (ridings) with a single elected official.
Each electorate has about 80,000 voters.

The other house uses a system of state based proportional representation.
The system used downunder is a combination of the Westminster system and
the American Congress and was designed to balance different states having
very different populations.  Throw in cool stuff like double-dissolutions
and joint-sittings and you have a system that runs really well.

> - Is simple to understand.

Honestly, I hope this would not prevent a nation from implementing a
better system.

I am disappointed about how little most people know about the workings of
their own government.  A proper course on the workings of government (all
branches) should be part of the school cirriculum.  Maybe it is here, I
don't know, but I find most people in western nations can tell you little
about their own national government.


Robert Brockway B.Sc. email: robert-5LEc/6Zm6xCUd8a0hrldnti2O/JbrIOy at public.gmane.org, rbrockway-cFo9iiqjkw8eIZ0/mPfg9Q at public.gmane.org
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